Amy How, a Canadian-born teacher who now lives in West Yorkshire, has received a second round of funding from SHINE for her innovative idea, ‘One Tool – All of the Facts’ which uses a Dutch counting frame- known as a rekenrek-to transform whole-class teaching of times tables.
She was originally awarded a grant of £6,850 from the Let Teachers SHINE competition, allowing her to implement her project in five schools, helping 300 children. This year, she has received a further £19,000 and has been able to introduce her idea into 10 schools, supporting 600 children.
The project aims to increase children’s understanding and recall of the times tables by manipulating the rekenrek so that children start to see patterns. Amy feels that the beauty of this project is it’s easily incorporated into daily practice, meaning it doesn’t take up much time in an already packed curriculum.
In the first stages of the project, Amy was particularly excited about the prospect of helping hundreds of children develop a love and understanding of maths. The key point of the project is to give children a solid understanding of the times tables while developing number sense. It is not just for the children that find times tables difficult, it is for all.
Reflecting on her own time as a teacher, Amy said: “I have had years of experience watching children get frustrated, anxious, and unmotivated to retain basic number sense through traditional methods. This is where the rekenrek is such a useful tool because it is unique in its simplicity but also in its ability to see what students are thinking.
“Using the rekenrek, I have seen children thrive and get excited about a new maths tool which increases their understanding and recall of maths facts. The process is simple, innovative and easily learned. There is no stigma attached to this “new” tool and so ALL children benefit, not only those who are struggling, but those who simply know the times table facts but don’t have any deeper understanding of the patterns associated with these facts.
“It is really exciting for the teachers and the children. You get to see so much improvement.”
At SHINE we’ve always believed in the power of inspirational teachers to change lives. We look forward to supporting Amy and learning more about the impact of rekenrek on the children who need it most.